WHAT THE FUNDRAISING

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94: The People Behind the Products: How Giving Circles Support Belonging, Community and Your Fundraising with Emily Rasmussen

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“Microfinance really helped pioneer this idea of social collateral and people working together and advocating for each other in order to unlock access to funds.”

– Emily Rasmussen
Episode #94

Overview

In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

Giving Circles have been around as a concept since the 1980s, but in combination with new technologies, those circles are wider and more generous than ever before. As we learn from Emily Rasmussen, my guest on this episode of What the Fundraising, having a platform around which to congregate strengthens the communities that are fueling movements. She founded Grapevine in 2018 specifically to facilitate multiple small donations – maximizing their impact and helping to connect the dots between people and organizations. We know that more collaboration equals more momentum. Pooling resources only expands the pie (which is another reason why a scarcity mindset does no one any favors). 

In this conversation, you’ll learn about the different models for Giving Circles, what kinds of networks have been most successful thus far, and how technology can aggregate and amplify the interests of small donors and the community. Emily is sharing key ingredients to keep in mind when setting up a Giving Circle modality and highlights the importance of putting an intentional framework in place. “Nonprofits are recognizing this model and seeing the power,” says Emily. “This is a movement. It’s only accelerating!” We’re leaving you with lots of points of entry for moving your nonprofit into the fast lane with this form of turbocharged fundraising – and the community purpose it stewards and grows.

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Get to know Emily:

Emily Rasmussen is the Founder and CEO of Grapevine, a collective giving platform. She was the founding Executive Director of NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts, launched the Lincoln Center at the Movies global media initiative, and developed innovative financing models for impact at Enterprise Solutions to Poverty. Emily has consulted on event cinema for Disney Theatrical Group, taught Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at SUNY Purchase, and spent two years developing microfinance and fair trade programs in India. She is a board member of the Harvard Business School Women’s Association, a member of the LISC Emerging Leaders Council, the AfterArts group, NOVA Impact, and a founding member of UNTITLED, an arts & business innovation initiative. Previously, she was a professional ballet dancer and performed with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, among others. Emily holds a B.A. from Occidental College in Diplomacy, World Affairs, and Economics and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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I teach nonprofit fundraisers to bring in more gifts from the RIGHT donors… so they can stop hounding people for money. Fundraising doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.

MALLORY ERICKSON

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